‘Louis Berger case showed no one infallible in Goa’

Panaji, Aug 15 (IANS) Goa Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar on Saturday said that the Louis Berger bribery case has proved that no one, even a former chief minister, is infallible in the state.

He also ruled out political vendetta in the case, in which one former chief minister has been arrested while another has filed for anticipatory bail to avoid arrest.

“There are allegations in some quarters that this is political vendetta. I am saying this in front of every one in Goa that there is no political vendetta involved here,” the chief minister said.

“After giving the case to police, I have not even followed it up. But police has performed so well because I feel the people wished it,” he added.

He was speaking during the 69th Independence Day celebrations in Panaji.

“There was a perception that after getting elected, becoming a minister or a chief minister and after reaching such exalted positions, you can do whatever corruption you want and the law will not touch you. This misconception has been busted,” Parsekar said.

“This is a sign to the people and politicians of Goa that everyone is equal before the law,” the chief minister said.

“Those who are involved in corruption, whatever pressure you bring on, this government will not back down,” Parsekar said, also adding that the innocent will not be falsely implicated for political benefit.

Former chief minister Digambar Kamat, along with former PWD minister and ex-CM Churchill Alemao and other government officials have been accused of allegedly accepting a $976,630 bribe in 2010 from officials of US-based Louis Berger consultancy firm to secure implementation rights of a multi-billion dollar water and sewerage project in Goa worth Rs.1,031 crore funded by the Japan International Co-Operation Agency (JICA), which was cleared in 2010 by a Congress-led coalition government.

According to Goa police crime branch, that is investigating the bribery case, Kamat, who is currently on interim bail, was paid over Rs.1 crore in multiple installments to ensure that Louis Berger got the consultancy rights for the project.

Alemao has been remanded to judicial custody and three other persons, including director of the JICA funded project Anand Wachasundar, then Louis Berger India head Satyakam Mohanty and an alleged hawala dealer Raichand Soni have been arrested.

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